Malta's Political Party
The Labour Party and the Nationalist Party
Malta' Parliament consists of 65 members elected by universal suffrage. The electoral system is that of Proportional Representation. The President of the Republic is chosen by Parliament. Elections are held every five years. The latest three elections have shown that the people are more or less equally divided in their allegiance to one or the other of the two main political parties. The Labour Party and the Nationalist Party.
The Maltese are very politically conscious and the temperature of factional passion is ever on the high side, particularly so at election time. Trade Unions in Malta, already developed during the time of British Colonial rule, plays a considerable part in Malta's social and political life. The largest single union is the General Workers' Union, and the other main is the 'unjoni Haddiema Maghquda '(United Workers' Union).
Compared to most Western countries, salaries and wages are on the low side. Though considerable effort has been made, not without a degree of success, to keep down the cost of living in so far as most essential items are concerned, employees and workers often find it difficult to keep up the comparatively high standard of living which they were used to during the boom of the first post-war decades, before world-wide inflation inevitably affected a country which has to import nearly all its requirements from abroad.
Since becoming independent from Great Britain, the Maltese, fully conscious of their responsibility for the shaping of their own destinies, have become more involved and interested in world affairs and sensitive to the possible repercussions on their country's welfare as a result of what is happening abroad. Having experienced the horror and devastation of war between 1940 and 1945 when the islands were subjected to such severe and continuous air-attacks and when her people were on the brink of being starved out and of
Having to surrender, Malta's main solicitude now is the maintenance of peace in the Middle Sea.
No one wants to return to the era when the economy of these islands was almost exclusive1y conditioned by the fact that they were a military stronghold. It is now universally accepted that progress and welfare may only be secured if our sea is what has been termed 'a lake of peace.
For a number of decades, in fact for a century and a half, things proceeded their merry way under British rule in Malta. However, there were rumblings that began to be heard and that eventually culminated in what came to be regarded as the peaceful acquisition of independence of the Maltese Islands and Maltese people from Britain. The process takes some patient re-tracing.
Such pin-pricks at the Empire did not sit well with the British who would have preferred a more homogeneous, therefore more controllable population. Opening up linguistic frontiers also opened up mental ones and the reformist mentality that was sweeping over certain parts of Europe could not help have some impact on the Maltese intelligentsia (what little there was of it in the shape of lawyers and doctors and clergymen) if no one else.
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